When I first heard from Natalie, she shared with me that she was expecting her third son in just a few weeks and that our 1st Samuel swaddle would be perfect for him, considering the painful journey they had been on over the past year. I was immediately captivated by her vulnerability and after searching out her blog - natalieyoung.ca I found myself lost in her beautiful writing, honesty and her desire to bring glory to God in the midst of a place of loss that no mother should ever have to be.
Natalie's daughter Paisley was whisked in to the arms of Jesus last March, before ever taking a single breath. Her impact, however, is far reaching and the love her family has for her pours out of every word that Natalie writes when she reflects on the life of her cherished daughter. Natalie shares about the loss of her perfect girl, the emotions that came along with her next pregnancy and the emotional, yet victorious moment when she brought her boy, Everest Isaiah in to the world just a few weeks ago.
On Wednesday morning, March 22nd, I sat at the breakfast table sharing breakfast with Ron before he headed out the door for work and I casually mentioned to him that I hadn’t felt the baby move much this morning. Her gentle kicks normally woke me around the same time the boys would come prancing into our bedroom asking for breakfast. We just decided she must be sleeping in today as she had had other quiet mornings in the past and I didn’t think much else about it as we said our good byes and off he went to work. I then began hustling to get myself and the twins dressed and ready for playgroup at our church and it wasn’t long before we were headed out the door. I remember how frigidly cold it was that morning because we dressed for the warmer spring weather we had had the past couple days and didn’t realize until we stepped out the door how cold it was.
We had such a great morning and I remember excitedly talking with friends about how my pregnancy was going and how the nursery plans were coming along. The boys and I went back for lunch and I put them down for their nap. The crazy thing is that I had an ultra sound scheduled for later that afternoon. They missed just a couple measurements at my last one because of the way she was situated so it was just supposed to be a quick one. I was so tired from our busy morning and decided I would lay down myself for a bit. I went to the bedroom, lay in bed, on my right side, one hand on my belly as I always did, feeling for her kicks. About 10 minutes went by and I felt nothing. I rolled back over to my back, both hands on belly now, waiting patiently for her to let me know she was ok. Just one little kick baby, thats all I needed. Still nothing. I started to worry a bit, changing positions every few minutes. I went to the kitchen and poured myself a glass of cold orange juice hopeful that it would wake her up. I went back and lay down again, now praying desperately for just some little sign that she was ok. I started to google as I lay there on my phone and the first things that came up were all positive. (baby might be facing towards my back and I wouldn’t be feeling any kicking or it’s not uncommon to not feel much movement some days) But I knew my baby girl. And in the past she would move when I asked her to. Something wasn’t right. I began to panic and called Ron at work. He tried to reassure me that everything was likely fine as there were no other signs that anything could be wrong and as I was getting an ultrasound within the hour anyway, she would be checked over thoroughly for a peace of mind. After I hung up, I put on the song “Good Good Father” on my phone. One of my favourite worship songs. I needed to hear it to calm my soul but I also held it up to my belly in hopes that the music would wake up my baby girl. Tears ran down my face as I prayed that all was fine but deep inside I felt something wasn’t. I keep imagining that maybe it was that moment, her heart actually stopped and she was ushered into heaven, wrapped in the arms of her good, good Father. I got up a few minutes later, woke up the boys and we headed downtown for my ultrasound.
As I waited in the waiting room with the twins for Ron to meet us, I had a mental battle with myself. Both hands still on my belly, I kept praying for just the tiniest little movement. I was dreading the ultrasound at this point but also kept trying to convince myself that I was over reacting and within a few minutes, I would be fully relieved. They called my name and in I went. I lay on the bed and as the tech immediately began to snap pictures of what she was looking for, I casually mentioned I was a bit worried because I hadn’t felt much movement today. She moved the probe to a different area on my belly and immediately turned the screen away from me. Thats when I knew something was very, very wrong. I started to cry and asked her if there was a heartbeat. She responded by asking me if I had had any cramping or bleeding. I was shaking and sobbing by this point and told her no. She moved the probe around a bit more, but I could see it all over her face. She told me she’d be back and went to get another tech. They both looked at the screen as she kept moving the probe around on my belly, obviously searching for something. The other tech shook his head and they exited the room again, saying they’d be right back. What was probably 5 minutes, felt like 3 hours. I wanted to scream and shout. I wanted to grab the probe myself and find my babies heartbeat. I tried my hardest to stay calm and begged God for there to be a mistake. I knew deep down what was true but I was in denial. I guess the techs aren’t allowed to release such information so they had to get my midwife on the phone. They came back in to get me and I remember seeing Ron down the hall in the waiting room and bawling on the spot, motioning to him that things were not ok. My legs felt like jello as I tried to make it to the room where the phone was. My midwife confirmed to me in the most sensitive way she could that they were unable to locate a heartbeat. I couldn’t process everything she was saying but all i knew was that my baby was not alive and I was broken. I was so so broken. They brought Ron into the room while the secretary kindly entertained the twins and I bawled on his shoulder while he spoke with my midwife. He tried to stay strong but it wasn’t long before he was crying too. We held each other and cried and cried but we had to compose ourselves to go out and get our boys who had no idea what was going on.
What happened next is still a blur to me. After trying to explain what had happened in the best way possible to our precious boys who were so excited to meet their baby sister, we drove straight to the hospital to triage where my midwives met us and they would do another ultrasound to confirm what we already knew. I texted Britt who so kindly came to get the twins immediately. I remember laying on the bed in that room just praying there was a mistake. Praying that my baby girls heart would beat again, praying that it was just all a bad dream. How could this be? I had felt her kicking me so strongly just the day before. I was healthy, she was healthy. There were no signs or any reason to be concerned that anything could possibly be wrong leading up to that day. They did the ultrasound not long after and it was confirmed. They was no sign of movement, no beating heart. My baby girl had gone to be with Jesus, and no part of me was ready for this. Ron and I wept and wept together, hugging and holding each other. They did a ton of bloodwork and the doctor on call came in to discuss what the next steps would be and give us some options. I could either go home and allow my body to naturally go through labour when it was ready, I could stay in the hospital and be induced or they could preform an alternate surgical procedure so I didn’t have to go through the painfully emotional process of birthing her which to me personally, was not an option. But no part of me wanted to go home. There was no way I could lay in my bed and get any sort of rest with my lifeless baby inside of me. Ron and I both decided without any question that induction was the route we wanted to go. There was quite a list of people ahead of me however, so they actually ended up sending us home anyway until a room became available. We made the long drive home across the city, completely broken, crying and asking God why. As soon as we got in the door however, we got a call that there was a room available and to come right back.
I was so flustered and an emotional mess while I tried to think of what I may need in my “hospital bag”. This is not how I imagined packing it. Packing your hospital bag was supposed to be a joyous activity with lots of happy anticipation. Not this. I couldn’t think clearly or see much through the tears and just grabbed whatever I could, while both Ron and my mom tried to help.
I remember going into the twins room where they were fast asleep and just weeping over them, kissing them and holding them. I was devastated beyond belief yet had never been more thankful for these two beautiful blessings in my life . We left the house and made the trek back to the hospital. My midwife met me at the desk and after registering, we followed her to a room at the very end of the hall. I got dressed in a hospital gown that was laid out for me, got as comfortable as I could in the bed and after speaking with the OB on call and hearing what the induction would entail, the process began. They started the oxytocin drip but I was also given an internal medication every four hours as they said I wasn’t far enough along to have enough receptors for the oxytocin. We were told it could take as long as 24-48 hours before I was fully dilated and ready to birth her. This was so hard to hear because I just wanted it all to be over. It was so painful lying in that hospital bed, waiting to give birth to my precious, lifeless baby. I never in a million years imagined I would have to do this. What mother ever does?
We tried to get some sleep that night. Ron had a cot beside me in the room. But we both couldn’t stop crying. We just hugged and cried and hugged and cried some more. We just didn’t understand how this could have happened. Not this far along. My last miscarriage had happened at 8 weeks along and once I passed that point, I remember taking a big breath of relief, resting assured that our baby was going to be just fine. And to think that that morning everything (as far as we knew) was perfect. Our entire world felt like it was flipped upside down in a matter of hours and we just didn’t know how to deal with it. We prayed together, and cried out to God asking for peace and clarity and comfort. We put on some worship music and that helped to calm our hearts a bit but I just couldn’t sleep a wink that night. I was shaking and feverish from the medication and my mind just wouldn’t shut off.
At 7 am the nurses and OB’s switched shifts. I wasn’t prepared for all the questions that lay ahead in the hours leading up to her birth. So many questions. Questions I never imagined I’d ever have to answer about my own child. Painful questions that brought me to hysterical tears. Did I want to see/hold my lifeless baby when she was born? Did we have a name picked out? Did we want to go forward with an autopsy if there wasn’t any obvious signs as to what happened? Did we have a funeral home in mind? These are questions no mother should ever have to answer. I was so thankful during this time for the support of my amazing midwife and the incredible nurses we had who made me feel as comfortable as possible and took the time to talk with me and just listen to me when I needed it most. I feel like God just placed all the right people in all the right places along the way.
I started to feel some bad cramping around 8 am and we decided to move forward with an epidural so I could try and get a bit of rest having not slept through the night. I was a lot more comfortable after that and was able to sleep little bits on and off between hourly blood pressure and temperature checks. We asked our Pastor and his wife to come by that afternoon and as hard as it was to be so vulnerable and allow them to see me in the worst emotional state I’ve ever been in, it was exactly what we needed during that time. They listened to us tell share our broken and heavy hearts, they prayed with us and spoke words of truth into our lives. Truths we hung on to with everything we had in the hours to come. We are so thankful for them.
Around 6 pm I started to feel very intense cramping on my left side. I had been laying on my right side for quite a while and I guess the epidural had worn off on the other. The cramping went from a pain level of 1 to a 10 in a matter of minutes and after checking me, the OB resident said she could feel the head. As they prepped for me to give birth and went to locate the OB on call, Ron held my hand and I remember weeping and telling him I couldn’t do this. He looked me in the eye and said “You Can, You are so strong, You can do this.” I asked him what we were going to name her. He said “what do you want to name her babe?” We had a running list of 4 names but hadn’t picked one yet. I asked him if we could call her Paisley. He cried and nodded. The reason I said Paisley is because out of the 4 top names, I had a favourite, he had a favourite, we had one new one that we had found and loved but Paisley was one we both absolutely loved from the start and the one we had most recently talked of.
They told me to push whenever I was ready and with one small push at 6:19 pm on March 23rd, Paisley Young was born. Our beautiful, baby girl with all her tiny fingers and all her tiny toes. She had the cutest little nose and perfect little lips. She was everything we dreamed of and more. Up until that very moment, I hadn’t known if I would be strong enough to hold her. Strong enough to even look at her. But the moment I laid eyes on her, I couldn’t take them off. She was perfect. So tiny yet so incredible perfect. Fearfully and wonderfully made by her heavenly Father. I wanted to hold her and hug her and kiss her and never stop. Ron and I were in awe of this beautiful babe that we would never get the chance to know, we would never get to look into her eyes or hear her little voice. But she was beautiful and the moment we met her, we were both forever changed..
12 weeks. Here we are again for the second time in 6 months. I feel extremely blessed and overjoyed to be carrying a baby once again yet it’s also been a difficult and emotional journey thus far.
I remember it like it was yesterday…crying to my husband as I lay in that hospital bed waiting to deliver Paisley. I told him that I never wanted to do this ever, ever again. I remember saying that I couldn’t do it again. I couldn’t go through the heartbreak of possibly losing another baby and I couldn’t put my precious boys, him, or anyone else through it again either. He just held me and hugged me. He didn’t try and convince me otherwise at the time. I don’t know what was going through his head in that moment and I don’t imagine he even wanted to think about what our future would look like after we left the hospital the next day. I know I didn’t. We were just so filled with grief, so broken, so completely devastated over what we had lost. I didn’t feel I would have the strength to carry another baby after this.
Yet the moment I had Paisley in my arms, everything changed.
When I stared at her perfectly formed fingers and toes and kissed her sweet smelling newborn skin, I knew I had to do this again. She was perfect. Such a gift from the Lord. And even though He had chosen to take her home early, I just knew as I held her and sobbed that Ron and I were going to have more children together, that our family was not yet complete. That God had more in store for us, despite the immense pain we were feeling in that moment. When I shared my heart with my husband a few days later, not knowing where he stood on the issue or what he was feeling about our future, he cried as he told me that he wanted to have 5 more kids together as soon as he saw Paisley (ok we both decided after that 5 may be a little excessive). But it just confirmed to us both that God had more in store.
So here we are. 12 weeks along with another beautiful blessing growing inside me. It feels surreal, to be at this point again so soon but we have seen God’s hand so evidently in this pregnancy since the very start. There have been emotionally draining moments when fear and anxiety have gripped a hold of me. But in those same moments, with full and complete surrender, I have felt God replace those feelings with overwhelming peace and a strong prompting to simply trust. I wish I could share everything with you in this post but it would likely be a novel. I will say though, that we believe that the Lord has allowed us to experience this journey for a reason. And we have been learning as a family that faith is not about everything turning out ok but about being ok no matter how things turn out. For God is good. His plans are good.
And He says: “ You don’t see now what I am doing, but you will someday.” John 13:7
Thank you so very much for sharing in our excitement with us. Welcoming our beautiful son in to the world in the same hospital we said goodbye to our daughter Paisley just 11 months ago was such an emotional, yet victorious moment for our family. This sweet baby boy has been covered in prayer since the beginning of his existence and we have the incredible community surrounding us to thank for that. Thank you for sharing in our journey over the past year. For crying with us, rejoicing with us, praying with us and standing beside us as we both mourned and rejoiced again, trusting in the Lords faithfulness and believing that He brought Everest Isaiah so soon in to our lives for a reason.
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